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Magnificent Seven, The (US) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000018455
Added by: Chris Cox
Added on: 8/8/2001 18:47
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    Review of Magnificent Seven, The

    7 / 10


    Brynner, McQueen, Coburn, Bronson, Vaughn, Dexter and Buchholz - "The Magnificent Seven". Forty one years ago, they could never have known that their remake of the Japanese classic "The Seven Samurai" (widely regarded as one of the best films ever made) would still be going strong in the 21st Century and regarded as a landmark film. The strong cast and story didn`t woo American audiences initially, but after success in the European cinemas the film returned to the United States and was a huge success. The rest is history.

    "The Magnificent Seven" tells the story of Mexican farmers who cannot tolerate the bandit Calvera any longer and decide to hire a team of gunmen to train them to defend their village. After the "Magnificent Seven" have been recruited and return to the village the gunmen and locals fend off a bandit raid, but they know that Calvera will be back before long and there are some hard decisions to be made.


    With any film over made 40 years ago, quality of the video isn`t going to set the world on fire, and although the picture quality of "The Magnificent Seven" is good for its age, it does fall some way short of modern standards.

    The image in presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and suffers from a considerable amount of dirt at times, which really should have been cleaned up. Likewise, some scenes display a great deal of grain - although this mainly afflicts long outdoor shots, and not close up indoor scenes. Conversely, in many other scenes, the image is quite sharp and detailed and much better than you might expect given the age of the film.

    Being set back in the 19th century means that the film has aged well, and looks just as good as a whole host of other well made westerns, and in truth a newcomer to the film might not think it was 41 years old.


    The sound comes in a choice of the original mono soundtrack or a new Dolby Digital 5.1 remix. I watched the film with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, which to be honest was very disappointing as the sound comes primarily from the centre speaker and subwoofer, with very limited use made of the four other channels available.

    Basically, the level of the four other speakers is very very low, and you need to press your ear to them to hear anything. Having said that, having the dialogue and music coming from the centre channel and subwoofer sound better than switching to the mono soundtrack which is replayed through the front stereo pair.

    Regardless of any complaints about the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix, there is no denying the quality of Elmer Bernstein`s Oscar nominated score which is superb throughout the movie. The rousing music is a compliment to the film and the theme tune is one of, if not the, most famous movie themes ever written.


    Extra features consist of a new documentary, an audio commentary, photo gallery and trailers.

    The new documentary runs for approximately 45 minutes and is excellent. It contains interviews with the surviving members of the cast, their families and the crew and provides a very informative look the making of the film, the relationships between the cast (including a look at Brynner and McQueen`s on screen rivalry) and the problems encountered in filming in Mexico.

    The disc is packaged in a black Amaray case, which contains a four page colour booklet giving details on the cast, film and the chapter breaks.


    "The Magnificent Seven" is a superb film, which is still very enjoyable and rewarding forty years after it was made.

    Despite reservations about the sound and picture quality, the combination of a superb cast, a great story and the fabulous score ensures that the film is defies its age and continues to delivers the goods where so many other westerns since have failed miserably.

    A great documentary helps to anchor the package.

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